Media Rumors

Turner Sports says its “Inside the NBA” studio team will call a Christmas night game in Los Angeles along with its other usual duties. Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson will be at Staples Center for the Lakers’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They will call the nightcap of the league’s five-game holiday schedule in addition to their regular pregame, halftime and postgame coverage.
Thursday’s “NBA on TNT” broadcast should be interesting. The main event between Lonzo Ball’s Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers figures to be a spectacle, but don’t discount the in-studio undercard, which could feature Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith hashing out their own issues with LaVar Ball. In Shaq’s case, it’s being denied Big Baller status by the Big Baller Brand CEO. For Chuck, it’s comments he made on ESPN radio questioning whether the Ballfather is, in fact, a “legit father” for “exploiting his kids.” The Jet now finds himself in the fray after turning Barkley’s stance on its ear.
“I don’t know if he’s exploiting them. He’s giving them opportunities they didn’t have, without question,” Kenny Smith told TMZ Sports. “I think that there are multiple routes. He took that route, but he doesn’t know the other route, how it helps you to go to college, not just on a basketball standpoint.” Smith thought it was “a good move” to send LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball to Lithuania, but emphasized that he’s still “a proponent of college.”